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Gonzalez leads legislative pack in cop union cash

"Pro-police advocates bragged" that AB 392 was “toothless,” says Sacramento Bee

"Weber had proposed a stronger version, but the law enforcement lobby owned enough votes to force a compromise."
"Weber had proposed a stronger version, but the law enforcement lobby owned enough votes to force a compromise."

As the role of police labor unions has come under increasing scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the financial means by which the organizations wield power and influence comes under the spotlight.

"Law enforcement associations have poured more than $7 million into the campaigns of California lawmakers in the past two decades, and that leads to real power in Sacramento," Daniel G. Newman, president of MapLight, a nonprofit political money tracker, told the Sacramento Bee.

Lorena Gonzalez, highest recipient of police union money ($163,900), in 2018 gave back $2000 from private prison contractor Core Civic.

"Not everyone has millions of dollars to spend on politics and our current campaign fundraising system often bends policy toward the interests that fund campaigns."

Bee opinion editor Gil Duran indicates in a June 12 account that police unions don't always get their way with legislators who benefit from campaign largesse. Still, the trail of police reform is often murky.

The paper's research revealed that the biggest cop union money recipient in the legislature, with $163,900 in contributions, is San Diego Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez.

Ben Hueso got $3000 from the Los Angeles Police Protective League PAC.

"I've been a strong supporter of criminal justice reform, including new safeguards to hold police officers accountable for their actions, and I co-authored Dr. Shirley Weber's AB 392 to reform the use of force by the police," Gonzalez said in a statement to the paper.

"After Newsom signed it into law, however, some pro-police advocates bragged that it was toothless," the Bee observed. "Weber had proposed a stronger version, but the law enforcement lobby owned enough votes to force a compromise."

Other California legislators who've been bankrolled by cops, including state Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, have now promised to "redirect $20,000 in law enforcement donations to community groups and refuse future contributions." His fellow Democrat Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach pledged to do the same, the paper added.

Lorena Gonzalez employed a similar disgorgement ploy in 2018 when it came to light that her campaign had accepted $2000 from private prison contractor Core Civic, operator of a controversial lockup run for the federal government along the border in San Ysidro.

According to state disclosure records, police donations to San Diego's Gonzalez have included $4400 from the Long Beach Police Officers Association PAC in 2017; the California State Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police Pac with $8400; and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, with $27,800.

The records show that Assembly Democrat Weber, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, got no money from the police unions. But a host of other locals did, including Democrat state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, with $18,800 this year from the Los Angeles Police Protective League PAC.

The same group gave state Senate Democrat Ben Hueso $3000 for his 2018 reelection campaign, per the data. This year, Hueso is running for the District 1 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to be vacated by termed-out Republican Greg Cox.

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"Weber had proposed a stronger version, but the law enforcement lobby owned enough votes to force a compromise."
"Weber had proposed a stronger version, but the law enforcement lobby owned enough votes to force a compromise."

As the role of police labor unions has come under increasing scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the financial means by which the organizations wield power and influence comes under the spotlight.

"Law enforcement associations have poured more than $7 million into the campaigns of California lawmakers in the past two decades, and that leads to real power in Sacramento," Daniel G. Newman, president of MapLight, a nonprofit political money tracker, told the Sacramento Bee.

Lorena Gonzalez, highest recipient of police union money ($163,900), in 2018 gave back $2000 from private prison contractor Core Civic.

"Not everyone has millions of dollars to spend on politics and our current campaign fundraising system often bends policy toward the interests that fund campaigns."

Bee opinion editor Gil Duran indicates in a June 12 account that police unions don't always get their way with legislators who benefit from campaign largesse. Still, the trail of police reform is often murky.

The paper's research revealed that the biggest cop union money recipient in the legislature, with $163,900 in contributions, is San Diego Assembly Democrat Lorena Gonzalez.

Ben Hueso got $3000 from the Los Angeles Police Protective League PAC.

"I've been a strong supporter of criminal justice reform, including new safeguards to hold police officers accountable for their actions, and I co-authored Dr. Shirley Weber's AB 392 to reform the use of force by the police," Gonzalez said in a statement to the paper.

"After Newsom signed it into law, however, some pro-police advocates bragged that it was toothless," the Bee observed. "Weber had proposed a stronger version, but the law enforcement lobby owned enough votes to force a compromise."

Other California legislators who've been bankrolled by cops, including state Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco, have now promised to "redirect $20,000 in law enforcement donations to community groups and refuse future contributions." His fellow Democrat Lena Gonzalez of Long Beach pledged to do the same, the paper added.

Lorena Gonzalez employed a similar disgorgement ploy in 2018 when it came to light that her campaign had accepted $2000 from private prison contractor Core Civic, operator of a controversial lockup run for the federal government along the border in San Ysidro.

According to state disclosure records, police donations to San Diego's Gonzalez have included $4400 from the Long Beach Police Officers Association PAC in 2017; the California State Lodge, Fraternal Order of Police Pac with $8400; and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, with $27,800.

The records show that Assembly Democrat Weber, a member of the Legislative Black Caucus, got no money from the police unions. But a host of other locals did, including Democrat state Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, with $18,800 this year from the Los Angeles Police Protective League PAC.

The same group gave state Senate Democrat Ben Hueso $3000 for his 2018 reelection campaign, per the data. This year, Hueso is running for the District 1 seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to be vacated by termed-out Republican Greg Cox.

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Comments
7

Meh. It's Lorena, so I'm sure it's ok.

June 12, 2020

Watch what happens to the cops charged in Minneapolis. One of them is already out on bail and it is rumored the perpetrator is cutting a deal with prosecutors. No doubt the police union is helping define the terms. Unions deliver for their members and have big bankrolls for contributing to expensive political election and re-election campaigns. Then they look for "consideration" when laws are being crafted by politicians. Sometimes it gets too embarrassing, so politicians caught in the glare sometimes return contributions or donate them to some charity.

Actually, it's not any different from the powerful teachers union. San Diego Unified School District did not lift an academic finger for six weeks this spring after schools closed down because of the pandemic. Only after unionist School Board trustee Richard Barrera quietly worked out new terms for teachers' wages and working conditions did the Superintendent of Schools announce "distance-learning" would commence, entailing minimal work hours for teachers -- and replacing classrooms, curriculum, attendance-taking and grades. Ditto for Fall 2020. Initially there was a threat that school would not open at all, but now it's all official silence until the State budget is set and, according to Barrera, acceptable levels of funding are found that will include a 2% cost of living increase for teachers.

Unionized cops, unionized teachers -- but the public interest is not served. Maybe cops and teachers should be serving the greater good rather than themselves. It might free our legislators to work in the public interest too.

June 12, 2020

I totally agree. And unionized nurses.

June 13, 2020

Unions are the only voice that employees have. It is not the fault of the unions that that the "other" side has no concept on how to negotiate. An agreement between an employer and employees is called a Collective Bargaining Agreement. The operative word is collective. Both sides have input. Union representatives are elected by their membership and are expected to represent them in all aspects of employment. Don't blame the unions for representing their members fault the corrupt politicians and weak negotiators. Non-union workers are "at will" and can be fired for any reason or no reason at any time except for race, religion, etc. The only difference between an at will employee and a union employee is a contract. We all deal in contractual agreements be it a car load, mortgage, rent, credit card, etc. I have never understood why an employee would not want to have an employment contract. Many employment law firms, unions and government agencies are contacted by at will employees after they have been terminated wanting "justice". Like insurance no one needs a union until they do.

June 13, 2020

I know you're "Joe union" and it's abundantly clear that being a retired union worker worked out well for you. I'm happy for you. Please keep in mind that not every employee "needs" union representation. Like my husband and I. Neither one of us are union, we're doing okay financially, and neither one of us have ever been fired. We're both well-educated. You don't need a union to be paid well, have excellent benefits, and a pension. What you need is an education, and the professional and people skills to succeed professionally. The highest (and lowest) paid employees are employed at-will. Union employees fall somewhere in between. And some would say union employees are definitely. overpaid. Getting defensive over union employment is ridiculous. We're not taking about your first born son. I don't care what union employees are paid (or anyone for that matter) but union protection of bad cops, firefighters, nurses, teachers, etc. is pathetic. Whether you want to accept it or not. And lastly, anyone skilled in negotiations can easily be paid what they're worth. I get paid more without a contract. I negotiate salary with a bullet proof vest. Everything is negotiable...

June 13, 2020

Alex, what's happened to unionized police and teachers has been devastating to the larger society that depends on services from these two groups of important public workers. Unions do provide good wages and (strictly limited) working conditions and accountability for these public employees, no argument. "I'm all right, Jack," rules. But unions do not foster professional pride or organizational aspiration to do good, to be better, to serve community, among their members. Well-paid union leaders always foster adversarial thinking -- Us versus Them -- among membership and they encourage ostracizing opponents and even members who don't share the group-think. Both teachers and cops have become utterly unaccountable for their acts or their deficiencies, thanks to broadly-interpreted protective arbitration rules and the power to strike. Unions make money from member dues and spend it on politicians' election campaigns and lobbying. One hand washes the other. The public is shut out, even though it pays and pays.

June 13, 2020

Historically, the most effective form of leverage that unions have with employers is the strike. Teachers and nurses shouldn't be allowed to strike. You're holding students and patients hostage.

June 13, 2020

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